A local family hopes the father will recover from a traumatic car accident

A local family hopes the father will recover from a traumatic car accident

POCATELLO — A local family is hoping a husband and father will make a full recovery as they struggle to make ends meet.

Roger Valentine, 42, a patient at a Pocatello nursing home, recovering from a traumatic brain injury. His injuries are so serious that he may never be able to move again.

Valentine’s wife, Autumn Retford, 41, said: “It’s heartbreaking, I hate him. I want him so badly to come home.”

Valentine and Retford, who live in Blackfoot, have six children, RJ, 24, Nataya, 20, Kayden, 19, Kyler, 17, Naya, 14, and Rice, 8.

Valentin and his family have been through a great deal of hardship since 2019. In the past four years, Valentin has survived leukemia twice, suffered from epileptic seizures and now a life-threatening car accident.

On April 29, Valentine and Rice were exiting Interstate 15 at the 5th South Exit in Pocatello when Valentine suddenly had a seizure. He caused his car to crash into a rock wall at 80 mph.

Related | A father who has had leukemia twice is now fighting for his life after a car accident left him and his son injured

Car damaged from a crash in Pocatello
What did the car look like after Valentine’s accident? | Courtesy of Autumn Retford

This latest tragedy forced Retford to assume responsibilities that had previously belonged to Valentin, such as supporting the family financially. She waitresses at a café in Blackfoot, but that doesn’t bring in enough income.

“I need to get another job,” Retford said. “(But with) everything that’s going on, I can’t get a job yet that pays for everything.”

The family has started a fundraising campaign to help them cover the necessary expenses until Retford can find a second job to help support them. The fundraising goal is to reach $6,000.

Valentine suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and Rice suffered a moderate traumatic brain injury after the accident.

“I was in disbelief,” Retford said.

Rice was airlifted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, and recovered quickly. He was able to return home four days later.

Valentin was in a coma at Portneuf Medical Center for two weeks until a wound on his head became infected and he had to be transferred to University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. Retford said they don’t know if he will survive.

“I was figuring it all out and watching my baby being transported in that helicopter to Salt Lake City and my husband stuck in Pocatello during surgery,” Retford said. “It was terrible. I don’t even know how to explain. It was terrible.”

Rice had to undergo surgery after the accident and his skull was reconstructed with metal pieces. While he was recovering well, the doctor found that his body was rejecting some of the implants, and they had to be removed. Rice is now scheduled to undergo another surgery on November 27.

The doctor told Retford that Valentin may have to stay in a nursing home for the rest of his life.

At this moment, Valentin could only move his head from side to side, and his right arm slightly. He tried to smile and cried.

The family still does not know whether he will recover or not.

“This guy is a fighter. He always said throughout cancer, ‘You and these kids, I have to be here for you and these kids,'” Valentine told Retford in the past.

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